homemade root beer

October 12, 2011

Breaking free of the cubicle to follow my dreams has been a series of countless joys, like for example, the time I spent three hours on a Tuesday afternoon looking for sassafras extract to make homemade root beer syrup.

What were you doing? Let me guess. Probably doing normal person things. It’s okay, I’ve made peace with my insanity.

I finally found it at a store that made yoda’s swamp hut look like Versailles. When I walked in, there was the token health food store cat staring me down (what up with the fact they are always fluffy?!) and two employees drinking mugwort tea while loudly over-sharing their home remedy stories for random aliments. They went on the whole time I was there, not even pausing when they rang me up. The cat was super pissed. I felt bad for the poor guy, I mean I would be too if I had to listen all day to how garlic solved your athlete foot problems.

Minus my regrets not saving the cat, it was totally worth it.

Oh man. This actually tastes like root beer! I don’t know why I’m so surprised, but I guess I had my doubts while counting out 12 individual peppercorns and adding them one by one to the pot like a witch brewing a potion. Look who’s been hanging out a little too much with the supplement sisters!

Root Beer Syrup
Makes 1 cup

Adapted from My Father’s Daughter

2 cups water
1/4 cup sassafrass extract
1 tablespoon honey
1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar
5 cloves
12 peppercorns
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

Combine all ingredients and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Cover and steep for about 30 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely. Strain out the solids and pour into a cute lil’ bottle. It will store in the fridge for a few days.

To make soda, combine about 1/4 cup of the syrup with soda water and stir.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanna January 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

Hello Lillie,
Can you share your source for the sassafras extract?
Thanks + love your blog!


Lillie January 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Hi Deanna. I found my sassafras extract at Flower Power (in the East Village) but it is also available online and may be sold in the herbal section of stores such as Whole Foods. Making homemade root beer is super fun and I hope you enjoy! 🙂


Matt March 9, 2013 at 12:37 am

Am I reading this right? In order to make this recipe you need 1/4 cup of sassafras extract which is 8 ounces. According to the Amazon link, that you posted, that would cost in the neighborhood of $70 and the recipe yields 4 servings. I was thinking of doing this for my wife because she loves root beer but I think she’d kill me if I spent over $70 on 4 glasses of root beer. I really hope I’m reading this wrong.


Lillie March 11, 2013 at 11:14 am

Hi Matt – Thank you for your comment and I am glad you are excited for homemade root beer making! BMUB is based in the US and 1/4 cup is equal to 2 (US) ounces. I bought my extract in person at the store that I listed above and it was about 12 dollars for 2 ounces. However, if you cut the recipe in half, it would still yield enough syrup to make a few rounds of homemade root beer floats. (Which is what I highly recommend doing with the syrup!). Hope you enjoy. Cheers!


Anna July 26, 2013 at 6:36 am

What is the ratio of soda water to syrup?


Lillie August 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

What ever tastes good to you! I would start with a cup of soda and 1/4 cup of syrup. Cheers!


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